The other night I was watching a show on Animal Planet that showcased the antics of two Boxers. Between bouts of laughter I would reach over and poke Holly. "Wow does that look familiar!" Each time Holly responded with "the look". Due to her being part Great Dane, Holly has mastered the art of looking down her nose. Believe me when I say the rest of her personality is all Boxer.
Holly was around 6 months old when we found each other. She was scared of the dark which made it real interesting to take her out to go potty when we lived in the country where there were no streetlights. Come evening if Holly and I were at opposite ends of the house with the lights off in between us, Holly refused to cross the dark barrier. Lucky for Holly, I had spent so many years working night, sleeping days that I have problems sleeping in a dark room. We sleep with the TV on, sound turned down and have nightlights through the rest of the house. The latter is for Holly.
I had researched Boxers before deciding to get one. I understood that they are high energy, very intelligent dogs who are prone to mischief. Despite all information from breeders and trainers nothing truly prepared me for the "human" antics.
You know that sound you make when you're exasperated? The first time Holly puffed out her cheeks and let loose a short, quick exhale I thought I imagined it. Then she got into practicing it on other people when they weren't paying her attention. Oh yes, talk about positive reinforcement training. And it encouraged Holly to mimic other human actions / reactions.
Holly was about a year old when she discovered she could dial my cell phone. At the time I was on a limited minute plan. Can you say OVERAGES! I was stumped as to how this was happening. Of course none of the wonderful people Holly was calling bothered to mention it to me until much later.
One day I was doing laundry and Mom was at the other end of the house frying chicken. Holly had been napping in the living room. I looked up to see her trotting towards me carrying something. Now her carrying things is not normal so curiosity lead me to ask "what do you have?" Happily Holly brought me a piece of chicken. Even though it was a boneless, skinless breast I couldn't imagine Mom giving one to Holly. In response to "where did you get this?" Holly trotted back to the living room, waited for Mom's back to be turned and slipped into the kitchen to ease another piece from the plate on the counter. To Holly's way of thinking, she had brought me a piece, she had a piece and we were good. (I put both pieces in a Ziploc labeled for Holly only and stuck them in the freezer for two weeks. She does not get rewarded for stealing.)
I know people say we assign human characteristics and qualities to our pets like it's a bad thing. All I have to say in response to that is, if it weren't for these human attributes there would be no guide dogs, no service dogs of any kind. Holly is my constant companion. She takes care of me and I take care of her. It seems only natural we would learn from each other.